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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Susan Paddack
Senate District 13
Majority Whip
Coal, Garvin , Hughes & Pontotoc Counties

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For Immediate Release: January 11, 2006

Senator Susan Paddack
Senator Susan Paddack

Caitlin’s Law Wins Approval of House Panel
Family Comes to Capitol to Support SB 1037

As Andy and Joann Hood, the grandparents of 16-year-old Caitlin Wooten, sat in the House Committee on Corrections and Criminal Justice today, they saw Senate Bill 1037 win unanimous approval and come one step closer to becoming law. Caitlin’s Law, authored by Senator Susan Paddack and State Rep. Wes Hilliard, now awaits action by the full House of Representatives.

“It takes courage to turn tragedy into triumph and this family has shown great courage throughout this process,’ said Hilliard, a Democrat from Sulphur.

Paddack, an Ada Democrat, said SB 1037 contains two major reforms that are tough on crime and smart for Oklahoma families. The bill is aimed at strengthening bail laws by requiring persons charged with the violent crime of kidnapping to prove they are not a public danger before they may post bail. It also allows for an electronic notification system, called Victim Identification and Notification Everyday (VINE) to be put into place statewide in order to notify victims when offenders move through the criminal justice system.

“I believe that if this law would have been in place before, the man who killed Caitlin would never have been out on the streets to harm her,” Paddack, the Senate Majority Whip said. “The passage of this bill honors the life of 16-year-old Caitlin and helps create a safer Oklahoma in the process.”

Senator Paddack began working with members of Caitlin’s family shortly after the teenager was murdered by Jerry Don Savage. She said she is pleased it won approval in the House today with unanimous support.

“With the passage of SB 1037 today by the House Committee on Corrections and Criminal Justice we are one step closer to making The Caitlin Wooten Act a reality,” Paddack said. “It’s the right thing to do and I applaud the members of this committee for their support of this bill. I also commend this family for the dedication they have shown for making a difference in the lives of so many Oklahomans.”

Hilliard, an assistant democratic floor leader in the House, said he hopes the House will takes action on the bill quickly, ensuring it will be signed into law by the Governor.

“Caitlin’s Law in tough on crime and it sends a strong message to those who think they can get away with hurting Oklahoma families,” the lawmaker said. “It sends the message that Oklahoma will not tolerate this sort of senseless violence because we will protect our families and communities through passing sound laws in this state.”

For more information contact:
Senate Paddack's Office - (405) 521-5541

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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